Medical consequences of the earthquake of 1886 in Charleston, South Carolina

  • Fitzgerald R
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With rail and telegraph lines severed, the city of Charleston was isolated immediately after the main tremor. There is no record of any disaster preparedness before the earthquakes. Fortunately, only a small percentage of the population was killed or injured, and there was no infectious disease epidemic. The black population suffered twice the death rate of the white. Ten times as many black children less than age 5 died than white children less than age 5. The hysteria that followed was widespread but abated after several days when the tremors stopped and contact was made with other areas of the country. There was a decrease in the birth rate nine months after the earthquake.

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  • Richard H. Fitzgerald

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